Get to Know Quadron and Rhye’s Robin Hannibal

Photo: Quadron Facebook

Does the name Robin Hannibal ring a bell? If not, then perhaps the music this Denmark-born, Los Angeles-based producer has made will sound familiar — his sensuously attuned soul-pop group Rhye released the brilliant slow-jam Woman earlier this year, and of course, he’s sampled in Kendrick Lamar’s “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe,” which you have definitely heard.

Robin “Hannibal” Braun gained traction here in the United States in 2006 with Living With … Owusu & Hannibal, an underrated nu-soul gem made with Danish singer Philip Owusu. Additional work with the Boom Clap Bachelors, a collective of Danish musicians enthralled with American soul music, and the solo album Bobby made him a favorite of the underground indie-soul circuit and influential DJs like Gilles Peterson and Garth Trinidad.

That led to the unexpected success of Quadron, a 2009 project Hannibal launched with singer and Boom Clap Bachelors member Coco O. “The funny story is, we never shipped it to anyone in the States,” he tells Hive. “It was because of the projects I had done earlier that some of the radio DJs and tastemakers in the States found out I was doing Quadron. They figured out how to get it and then slowly introduced it to the U.S. market.” a process that accelerated when Plug Research licensed it for U.S. release in 2010. To capitalize on the opportunity, Hannibal and Coco O. moved to Los Angeles. Fortuitously, Mike Milosh, a singer with whom Hannibal had just begun working on what soon turned into Rhye, relocated there, too, to be with his girlfriend and soon-to-be wife.

This week, Quadron released Avalanche, a sumptuous escapade that spotlights Coco O.’s incandescent voice with Robin Hannibal’s nu-soul and R&B arrangements. Here’s a handy starter guide to the world of Quadron, as told by Hannibal himself.

1. Pharrell loves Living With … Owusu & Hannibal

When Ubiquity Records released Living With … Owusu & Hannibal, says Hannibal, “That’s when my American adventure started.” He began making industry contacts, and met Pharrell Williams, who participated in Quadron’s Avalanche sessions. “[Pharrell] mentioned [Living With] as being one of his favorite records,” says Hannibal. “He remembered a lot of the songs. He could sing a lot of them, which was really cool.”

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